Author Topic: Mets Retire Willie Mays 24  (Read 369 times)

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Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Mets Retire Willie Mays 24
« Reply #25: August 30, 2022, 02:57:35 PM »
42 is retired as a reminder of what Jackie Robinson went through and his significance to the sport. Different story.
I understand that.  My point is, that from an NY perspective, one is a Black Dodger star from the early period of integration, so Mays in a  sense is his counterpart.

By the way, Mays had a tryout with the Red Sox at Fenway before he signed with the Giants. Crushed the ball, very good performance. Supposedly Tom Yawkey, a South Carolinian with a widely recognized racist streak, was watching in the stands and yelled "get that [N-word] out of here" so they passed on signing him over the objections of the scouting staff.  Joe Cronin went along with it.

As Mays recounts in the book, when he was a teenager playing for the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues, the Red Sox had a minor league team that shared a field with them. Multiple teams scouted Mays, including the Red Sox, and former Sox scout George Digby actually had a deal in place to purchase Mays’ contract for $4500 in 1950 before it was scuttled by the front office.

“I had Willie Mays bought for $4500,” Digby told me when I interviewed him in 2005. “I called up the Red Sox. I said, ‘I got Willie Mays. He’ll break the color line.'”

“The owner of the Black Barons had told us we could have Mays for $4500. I said, ‘I’ll be back to you by tomorrow.’ Glennon had asked me, ‘What do you think?’ I said, ‘I think he’s a big leaguer.’ We could have had Mays in center and [Ted] Williams in left.”

Instead, as Digby recounted, Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey and General Manager Joe Cronin passed on Mays, saying they “already had made up their minds they weren’t going to take any black players.” Indeed, the Red Sox had years earlier passed on signing Jackie Robinson, with then General Manager Eddie Collins and Yawkey passing for the same shameful reason.

Howard Bryant has written alot on it and the general topic of the Red Sox and race.